Arshad Sharrif was fearless and never feared anything. I remember when we married 11 years ago, he was exposing the corruption of powerful people, and he received threats until unknown people began spying on us and started chasing us. Even then, he did not stop and continued to expose the corruption of Pakistan’s elite.
He was very down to earth despite enjoying such recognition, fame, and respect. Whether it was a financial or professional need, he was always willing to assist. He has been exposing the corruption of numerous Pakistani political families for the past few years, and he used to back up his claims with solid evidence.
As a result, his opponents multiplied and the threats to us increased. Kidnapping, torture, and death threats were among them. The worst kind of misinformation was spread against me on social media since I was both his wife and a journalist. I faced online harassment and still facing it.
He neither came under anyone’s pressure nor could anyone scare him. This year’s government transition from Imran Khan to Shehbaz Sharif had a significant impact on him. He began criticizing Pakistan’s all-powerful people and quarters, which turned the tide against him.
Since then, sixteen police inquiries were filed against him across the country, and his situation drastically changed. Not only did it make me anxious all the time, but it also made me physically ill. Arshad had to go to court in the morning to defend himself against the baseless accusations, and he had to report to work for his daily talk show in the evening.
He would become exhausted but would not give up. When it was attempted to prove him a traitor and rebel, he faced the situation bravely. He was not anti-Pakistan or anti-forces; rather, he was anti-corruption. It is a journalist’s duty to question an individual’s corruption; it is not a crime to do so.
Threats were leveled at Arshad, forcing him to abandon his fight against corruption. We were all frightened after being told he would be shot in the head if he didn’t stop. We were all concerned for his safety, but he refused to leave the country. The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa then issued a threat alert in which it was stated that the Taliban could kill Arshad Sharif.
Nonetheless, he decided to leave the country only after dissenting voices were arrested and subjected to inhumane and degrading physical torture. He could accept arrest and violence, but he could not accept being humiliated by having his clothes removed in custody, as some were. When he left the country, he did not have many visas and was confined in a hotel room in Dubai, but the authorities there asked him to leave the country.
Although his visa’s validity period had not expired, he was forced to depart Dubai by UAE authorities. He then traveled to Kenya, where he was compelled to stay at his host’s home out of fear for his safety. After some time had passed and his dread had faded, he resumed working on some investigative videos on YouTube. Additionally, he might have begun going out, which would have given his killers a chance. He was shot in the head and brutally executed in Kenya as forewarned in Pakistan.
Questions from the Kenyan government
Why did the Kenyan police choose my husband out of hundreds of visitors? Did they receive any instructions or payment from somewhere else? If there was a suspicion, why was he shot in the head rather than at the car’s tires? Who released photos of my spouse obtained from the crime scene and the hospital? Why wasn’t my husband given a chance to live, and why wasn’t he taken to the hospital? The officers who shot my husband are nowhere to be found, why are they being hidden, and when will they be punished?
Questions from the UAE government
I’ve heard that the UAE is welcoming to people of various backgrounds and that there is no racism there, so why was my husband, a well-known Pakistani journalist, forced to leave the country even though he had a valid visa? And you guys turned down his second application for a visa from Kenya, where he later died. By doing this, you contributed to his murder.
Questions from the Pakistani government
Who gave my spouse a threat that he would be shot in the head? On whose behest, his television program, Power Play, was terminated? Who ordered the nationwide closure of the channel he was working for? Who ordered the initiation of 16 police investigations against him?
All three of these countries are involved in my late husband’s murder. I’m curious to find out that who was so frustrated with Arshad that he killed him in this way. I won’t give up until I have a response to my inquiries, and I’ll knock on every door to get justice for my beloved late husband.
The author is a journalist and photographer from Pakistan and widow of Late Anchor Arshad Sharif who was shot dead in Kenya on October 23, 2022